Accelerate Mitchell, a partnership between the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Corporation, Mitchell Technical College, Dakota Wesleyan University, and Mitchell Main Street & Beyond, is working alongside Startup Sioux Falls and Dakota Resources to launch a CO.STARTERS Business Accelerator Program within the Mitchell community!
Click on the tabs below to learn more about the CO.STARTERS program.
If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or service, CO.STARTERS is for you. The one requirement is that you have to have a concept you are ready to test and be willing to study, shape and fine-tune in a supportive, collaborative, and welcoming environment. If you're creative, community-minded, and serious about turning your passion into a thriving business, we want you.
Don't miss your chance to enroll in this 10-week course - another opportunity won't arrive until 2023!
Course Dates & Times
Sessions are on Tuesday and run 3 hours: 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Start Date: May 17, 2022
End Date: July 19, 2022
Pitch Night: TBD
Enrollment & Selection Process
To enroll, click on the enrollment form link below. Applicants in the Mitchell area will need to select Accelerate Mitchell/Dakota Resources from the list of organizations where you would like to participate. Enrollment ends May 10, 2022. Selected participants will be notified of their admission into the program by May 12, 2022.
Facilitator: Laura Klock
Laura Klock is President and Founder of the local non-profit Helping with Horsepower and co-owner of Farm Life Creamery located in Ethan, SD.
Now in her 50's and a grandmother of 2, Laura has settled into her self-proclaimed title of “Serial Entrepreneur”. This comes from reflecting on all the startup businesses and business transformations that she has participated in over the years, and her love of continual learning and mentorship. Her experience is vast, from holding motorcycle land speed racing records, to equine therapy, graphic design and marketing, teaching, business ownership, and now, starting a local creamery and farm experience!
Laura has joined the Accelerate Mitchell team to co-facilitate the CO.STARTERS curriculum and offer real world experience and example as participants learn tools to turn their ideas into action. Laura enjoys helping others achieve their dreams in both business and life and is happy to share any information she can to encourage others to follow their passions and create a business they enjoy!
During CO. STARTERS, you’ll develop and fine-tune your idea, critically examining every part of it and plan your next steps through feedback from people in the community. The program is facilitated by active local entrepreneurs and educators, and guest speakers include specialists and professionals from the Mitchell area in marketing, branding, legal and finance agencies, as well as other entrepreneurs.
The course consists of eleven sessions; the last session will be a Startup Pitch Night featuring cohort members. We are currently running one cohort per year starting in May 2022. During that time, we'll cover the following topics:
Session 1: Knowing Yourself
Session 2: Knowing Your Customer
Session 3: Find the Right Solution
Session 4: Getting the Relationship Right
Session 5: Building Blocks
Session 6: Structures & Systems
Session 7: Discovering the Bottom Line
Session 8: Financial Modeling
Session 9: Planning for Growth
Session 10: Celebration Night
The CO.STARTERS business accelerator program is currently supported through the Community Navigator Pilot Program grant, powered by the Small Business Administration. The current price of the program is FREE, which includes program materials and resources. Interested participants can learn more about the value here.
Participants of the program will receive Q&A with local entrepreneurs, support from Dakota Resources, Startup Sioux Falls, and Accelerate Mitchell during and post-graduation, and invitations to resource fairs, mentorship programs, alumni networking & workshop events.
Participants will graduate from the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate their business model, and repeat the process for future business ideas.
Sessions will be held at Dakota Wesleyan University's School of Business, Innovation & Leadership and Mitchell Technical College's Technology Center.
Refreshments and a light meal will be provided at each session.
Facilitator: Dr. Ryan Van Zee
Dr. Ryan Van Zee has been teaching entrepreneurship and innovation for over 20 years. He is also the author of two books, Active Innovation: Exercises in Problem Solving and Innovation and The Entrepreneurial Experience.
He is currently a business professor at Mitchell Technical College in Mitchell, SD teaching and advising students in the trades on how to start businesses with no capital down. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of entrepreneurship and the Director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University. He directed the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and designed and taught classes in business, management, accounting, marketing and innovation. He also has experience working in small business development, fundraising, and consulting. Before DWU he was at the University of Sioux Falls, where he was the director of entrepreneurial studies since 2008. He started his education career as a high school business teacher and principal. He also does extensive consulting with small businesses.
Ryan’s education background is: Northern State University (Bachelor's degree in business and computer education); California State University, Bakersfield (Master's degree in education administration); University of South Dakota (Ed.D. in administration)
He lives in Mitchell, SD with his wife and three boys and enjoys playing and watching sports and reading.
Enrollment for the 2022 session has ended.
Check back in Spring of 2023 for the next cohort!
Accelerate Mitchell seeks to create an ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs succeed. The Forward 2040 Visionary Planning identified the need to support entrepreneurs in our community and a recent survey revealed that entrepreneurs need mentors, technical assistance, and help identifying funding sources.
Thanks to a $1 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Startup Sioux Falls is piloting an expanded version of its CO.STARTERS accelerator program to better reach underserved communities.
Learn more about the SBA grant opportunity and Hub & Spoke Model Program here: Community Navigator Pilot Program
Please direct questions and inquiries regarding the program and organizations involved to Alex Heidinger at 605-996-5567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.